As the mother of 5 children and the grandmother of almost 4, I have read many children's books, my history of children's books spanning almost 40 years. Yes, I could probably recite Green Eggs and Ham from memory. Recently, I was contacted by author Lynn Plourde about doing an interview and giveaway of her children's book Only Cows Allowed!
As most of you followers and readers of this blog know, I rarely advertise anything and I rarely do giveaways, but I truly love this book. So much that I have one coming for my grandson Hank, now 2, who we are desperately trying to teach that zebras and horses really are different.
So, I sent Lynn a few questions and asked her to share with us about the book:
To start us off, Lynn, tell us a little about your new book.
Only Cows Allowed! is a silly farm story filled with puns like “the cows wouldn’t moooove” and “the horses came up with a whinny-ing plan.” The story takes place on a new farm where the cows are the first to move into the barn. They like their new home so much they don’t want to share it with the all the other farm animals that arrive. Will they get their “bossy” way in the end?
Illustrator Rebecca Harrison Reed has the cows paint the “Only Cows Allowed” sign with their tails dipped in paint along with many other fun and foolish details. She studied the cows at Frying Pan Farm Park in Virginia as her models for the cows in the book.
What got you into writing children's books?
I started writing children’s books when I was married 28 years ago and got three- and four-year-old stepsons as part of my new ready-made family. I went from someone who lived alone to someone who had two little boys to read to at bedtime. I would take a huge bag of picture books out of the library, and the boys would fall asleep after two or three books. But I sooooo loved the books I would tiptoe out of their bedroom and continue to read all the books in the bag. That’s when I started to dream maybe I could write children’s books. And I did—after thirteen years of rejections! I’ve now had 27 children’s books published
Your book is about the farm. Did you grow up on or around a farm? Do you own any farm animals of your own?
I grew up in a small rural town in Maine, but not on a farm. I had classmates who lived on farms, and we’d visit a great-uncle who had a farm—I loved the rope swing in his barn! My dad lived on a farm as a boy, and he just glowed when he reminisced about his adventures there. My mom had an inside-the-house pet pig as a girl. I remember “dreaming” about farming as a girl—my three siblings and I got a toy farm set one Christmas and we’d play with it for hours pretending we were real farmers.
There still are many farms in Maine, and my Uncle Dick works on one. The family joke is that he loves the cows more than his wife! He let me visit his cows when I wanted to have an author photo taken for this book. Oh my! Oh moo! Cows do NOT stand still to have their photos taken. My husband told me to keep looking at the camera so he could “click” whenever a cow happened to wander into the picture. And so when I wasn’t looking, the cows would sneak up behind me (how can a cow be sneaky?!) and lap my fleece jacket. I kept jumping and laughing hysterically. My husband said the cows were more cooperative than I was!
What was the inspiration for this book?
This book had a two-part inspiration. I worked as a speech-language therapist for 21 years and so I like to weave word play into many of my kids books. I wanted this book to be filled with puns—or as I like to say make it a “punny” book. Farm animals are a natural for puns—horses moved into the NEIGHborhood, the hens knew EGGSactly what to do, the cows were UDDERLY serious. Farms seemed to have more pun potential than any other topic. Secondly, I was one of four kids growing up and I always shared a bedroom with my older sister. Our house was a hubbub of activity, and sometimes it was a challenge to find my own space. Just like me as a kid, the cows want their own space!
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Two things . . . I pride myself on being a TEACHING author. I want my books to entertain kids; but if they learn something along the way, that’s a bonus. And so for all of my books, I have learning activities based upon the books on my website. On my Only Cows Allowed! webpage (http://www.lynnplourde.com/index.php/books?bid=10), you’ll find activities for this book. Also, Cows takes me full circle. My very first published book in 1997 was Pigs in the Mud in the Middle of the Rud—also a FARM book. Pigs was inspired by eight piglets who ran down the middle of my road one day. I had two farmer neighbors at that time, but none with pigs. Today, I have no idea where those piglets came from—but they launched my career as a children’s book author and I’ve decided it must have been SWINE intervention!
Here you can listen to Lynn read her book Only Cows Allowed!
Not only has Lynn graciously agreed to our interview but also provided an autographed hardback copy of her book to give away.
So if you would like a chance to win just leave a comment.
I tell you what, just leave a comment and tell me your favorite children's book of all time. That's all it takes to enter.
I will keep this give away open for 7 days. At the end of 7 days I'll let Baby Hank draw a comment number out of the basket for a winner.
Just that simple!
I'll email the winner so make sure to leave a return email for those of you who comment anonymously so that I can contact the winner.
And if you don't win you can purchase Lynn's book at the link below
A special thanks from Hickery Holler to Lynn Plourde.
And don't forget to read to your child early and often. It makes a huge difference.
Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter